Turkish Parliament's Human Rights Commission fails to prosecute human rights violations

In ten years, the Turkish Parliamentary Human Rights Investigation Commission has received 35,000 applications documenting human rights violations. Not a single criminal complaint has been filed.

Turkish riot police use plastic bullets during a protest in this file photo.

Hacı Bişkin / DUVAR

In response to official parliamentary questioning by the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the Turkish Parliamentary Human Rights Investigation Commission has revealed that of the 35,000 applications it received in the last decade, not a single one has resulted in a criminal complaint.

“The chairman of the commission is allocated a vehicle with a red license plate; money is being spent,” HDP Faruk Gergerlioğlu asked, “So what does this commission do?”

Red license plates indicate governmental vehicles with special permissions.

Most of the complaints filed to the commission were for treatment in prisons. In each of the commission’s terms, thousands of applications were made regarding maltreatment in prisons - they came to a fever pitch in the commission’s 27th term, its most recent, with 5,991 applications. 

After prisons came freedom of work and contractual abuse, freedom to seek justice, right to a fair trial, right to assembly, right to healthcare, and abuse. None of these instances have been investigated.

“Do your job,” Gergerlioğlu said to the commission.

Gergerlioğlu pointed out that these complaints indicate where the most pressing problems in Turkey are: in prisons, in healthcare, in the judiciary. However, the commission’s failure to investigate and prosecute means these issues go unaddressed.

He said that in the face of a rapid increase in human rights violation applications to the Commission, the group should be increasing its work. 

“There is a high level of applications to the commission. Serious work needs to be done to verify these violations […] Has a criminal complaint been made about these applications? Has a result been obtained regarding the applications? There is no answer to these questions,” Gergerlioğlu said. 

He called for an investigation into the efficacy of the commission and where the money to it allocated is going. 

“We expect the commission to fulfill its duty to seek rights,” he said.

(English version by Erin O'Brien)